“Very likely not,” agreed Sherlock, “the young Mistress was very decidedly carried away, and having quite made up her mind that her Master was away on patrols, just more frequently than before, the suspicion of treachery never for an instant entered her mind. She was flattered by the gentleman’s attentions, and the effect was increased by the loudly expressed admiration from the Mother.”
Sherlock breathed in the smoke and then watched the vapors make circles in the air currents, “Then Mr. Angel began to call, for it was obvious that the matter should be pushed as far as if would go, if a real effect were to be produced.”
He began to list things by pointing his cigarette hand at the individual fingers of the other.
“There were meetings, and an engagement,” he paused at that finger, “which I do not think the Mother realized the implications of such a step,” then continued on with his explanations, “to secure the Mistress’s affections from turning toward anyone else. But the deception could not be kept up forever. These prolonged patrols were rather cumbrous. The thing to do was clearly to bring the business to an end in such a dramatic manner that it would leave a permanent impression upon the young Mistress’s mind, and prevent her from looking upon any other suitor or leaving the clan for sometime. Hence the vows of fidelity and also the allusions to a possibility of something ‘happening’ on the very morning of the wedding.
“James Windibank wished Mistress Sutherland to be so bound to Hosmer Angel, and so uncertain as to his fate, of dead or undead. Mistress Sutherland would for ten years to come, at any rate, she would not listen to another man nor think of leaving the haven to create her own. Not even close to the steps of the Church itself and you vanish away by the old trick falling back and rolling down the diseased bodies under-neath the wagon. I think that that was the chain of events, Mr. Windibank!”
Our visitor had recovered something of his assurance while Holmes had been talking, and he rose from his chair now with a cold sneer upon his pale face. “There is no actionable qualities behind what you have discovered Master Sherlock. Nor do I deserve a burn, for nothing but her heart was broken. That will mend, in time.”
Sherlock shook his head, as Master Windibank jumped towards the door of the room. He was too far into the room to not trip over another stool in his way. I tripped him further to the ground and Sherlock came to stand with both brand and cigarette in hand.
Sherlock held the fire brand poker, a justice he had done so many times before, marking a man to tell the world he is a monster, a living monster. “My only task, by the laws, is to brand you Master Windibank.”
At this Sherlock pressed his heel against into the man’s shoulder. I positioned the man’s face with the left side up, giving Sherlock all the access he needed to do the deed. The sickening sizzle of fresh, skin permeated the room as Master Windibank screamed. It sounded so much like those stricken with the plague, I believe it called them.
“My part is finished, duties fulfilled. She will know you sir, and I would not underestimate Mistress Sutherland’s deathly arts as much as you have done for the past few years.”
The man, for we really cannot consider him a Master of any sort, ran to the door. Sherlock and I stepped to the curtains, pulling them back as far as we dared. We saw him clasping his sword scabbard in one hand and in the other the blade glinted in the moonlight. There was no horde to be seen in the streets. But the man was skittish none the less.
We were not surprised to see Mistress Sutherland dropping from the window eaves as he stood in the middle of the street. We were not surprised when we saw her walk towards him like a hunter, watching her prey. We were not surprised that Windibank did not see her as she slinked up to his side. She touched his shoulder, and he turned to face her. Something was whispered softly, this we could tell as their heads moved closer together.
We were not surprised when Mistress Sutherland stabbed him through the gut with her katana. We heard the muffled agony of the man, and she shifted the blade back and forth though the muscle and guts of his body. I did not even cringe in pity for that man’s sake as she hacked down towards his member. A thorough vivisection if I had ever seen one. He was not dead when she sliced through the back of his knee caps. Nor did he pass out when she severed his arms. He was in pieces on the ground when she leaned down and kissed him and slit his throat. She did not remove his head. The worst death is not finishing the body. We respected her wishes,knowing that the dead would soon be attracted by the blood.
-To Be Continued-
Editors Note: Linda K. Strahl graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from Lewis University. She is currently a volunteer poetry editor for Jet Fuel Review, as it is the catalyst to her ongoing pursuit to join the publishing field. To keep her writing fresh she is currently working on integrating old classics with more present superstitions and fads, while also keeping her own word journal, and Evernote app on hand. To keep her finger dexterity, she knits, and practices piano.